Tips and Tools to Help Reduce Workplace Anxiety
Quick mental health check: How are you doing today?
Go ahead and take a minute to assess how you’re (really) feeling:
We hope you’re doing ok, but if you’re struggling, it does get better from here—we’re here for you. We wrote this article to provide you with some tips and suggestions on how to manage your stress and anxiety levels at work. 💜
It’s no secret that mental health is an important topic nowadays—as it should be. With the recent pandemic, discussing mental health has become more normalized than ever before, and the conversations are finally hitting the workplace.
As a society, we’ve started to really understand mental wellness as an integral part of our overall health. But even with the increased conversations being had, it can still be challenging to be aware of your own mental wellness and keep it top of mind when you’re in the midst of a busy day, week, or month.
Needless to say, working until you’ve reached your burnout point isn’t sustainable—it’s hurting our mental health causing us to feel more anxious day in and day out. With anxiety being one of the leading mental health challenges people face every day whether at home or at work, it’s time to shed more light on this topic and share ways to manage it, holistically. ✨
Let’s dive into what you need to know about mental wellness at work, how workplace anxiety is affecting people’s productivity, along with a few essential tips and tools for keeping your entire well-being in good shape!
- Mental health: Taking care of your body’s control center 🧠 🌱
- Anxiety: Way more than worrying 🎭
- Realizing when to pump the break and hit the pause button ⏸
- How to start reducing needless anxiety—at work or home
- 💜 Make time for self-care
- 🏃 Do a lifestyle check
- 🤳 Decrease screen time and reduce time spent on social media
- ✋ Know when to take a break (and actually take it)
- 👩💻 Utilize a task management and productivity tool
- ⏳ Time management and setting boundaries
- ✅ Set SMART goals
- 🙋 Never feel bad about needing help!
- Bring calm back into your workday 🧘♀️
Mental health: Taking care of your body’s control center 🧠 🌱
The word mental health has been tossed around a bit recently, so let’s define it quickly to give you more context.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being; it affects how we think, feel, act, make choices, and relate to others. It’s essential to our overall health and quality of life.
We live in a world where we are constantly on the go, and it can be difficult to step back and take care of ourselves. The reality is that our mental health largely affects our relationship with ourselves, others, and our quality of life.
If we don’t start recognizing and normalizing the need to pump the breaks to do a mental health check every so often, or at least attend to needs when they arise, then we risk falling into chaos.
After all, our brain is the main control center of our bodies; when it’s in chaos, everything else suffers.
Anxiety: Way more than worrying 🎭
Do you know that feeling? That tightness in your chest, the lump in your throat, and the knot of panic that forms when you feel like something is going to go wrong. What about feelings of never being able to get ahead or do enough? 🥵
You start second-guessing every decision and question whether or not you made a good call. You may even find yourself replaying a scenario that already occurred trying to analyze how you said things, how you acted, and so on. In short, you feel like your mind just doesn’t know how to stop thinking or anticipating a negative future outcome—that’s not normal worrying, that’s work anxiety.
The society we live in promotes hustle and bustle causing us to constantly push ourselves thinking we’d more be successful if we never stop moving or thinking.
But we’re not sharks—we need to stop moving sometimes. ✋ 🛑
Realizing when to pump the break and hit the pause button ⏸
The Law of Diminishing Returns is a term commonly used in economics but can definitely be applied to our daily lives and mental health. It suggests that you can reap the rewards of your investments (your time, money, energy, etc.) up to a certain threshold, but there comes a point when you’ll start receiving a lower return on investment (ROI).
Take a look at this graph, for example. 👀
What you see here is a representation of the correlation between your effort input and output. At the Point of Diminishing Returns, you would’ve exerted all your energy and time, making the quality of your work, actions, ideas, etc. less optimal and creative compared to when you’re well-rested and your battery is fully charged. 🔋
Longer working hours don’t always mean achieving more and having perfectionistic tendencies isn’t always healthy for your mental health. 😬
Without any time for self-care or reflection, the level of anxiety you’re experiencing will continue to intensify if you keep pushing past your limits…and trust me, everyone has their final limit. This will lead to burnout and you may even lose motivation and want to stop altogether due to the devastating levels of exhaustion.
I’s time to take back our mental health! 👊
How to start reducing needless anxiety—at work or home
Anxiety, not to be confused with chronic anxiety, is a normal human emotion that we all experience at different levels throughout our lives. The feeling of anxiousness will come and go, so we’ll need to implement healthy habits to help reduce the stress and anxiety levels. This includes making time for self-care, making lifestyle changes, learning when to take a break (and actually taking it), and implementing tools to help organize and manage your workload.
Here are a few tips and coping techniques for reducing work-related anxiety:
💜 Make time for self-care
Self-care looks different for everyone, and it’s not always those instant-gratification treats that retailers market as “self-care.”
We need to start debunking the idea that self-care is about manicures, eating ice cream when you’re sad, and giving yourself a pore mask (although, yes they can help you feel better momentarily). But thinking of self-care this way has definitely contributed to the misconception that self-care is this frivolous, lavish concept instead of a life skill.
It’s important to find what you need, enjoy, and fill up your emotional cup, and be willing to make a few changes to integrate them into your routine.
Whether that’s going for a bike ride in the morning before work, getting a massage, talking to a friend or therapist, or going to the gym to work out, make sure you carve out time in your schedule to put your needs first. 🌱 #ListentoMoiraRose
🏃 Do a lifestyle check
Are you getting enough sleep? Drinking enough water? Eating healthy balanced meals? Are you moving your body enough every day? What’s your caffeine intake like? 😅 I know… it’s a lot to keep top of mind every day.
Here are some lifestyle tips for you:
Improve sleep quality 💤
- Set a bedtime reminder on your phone
- Invest in the right mattress for an uninterrupted sleep
- Cut out blue light about two to three hours before your bedtime
- Use a sleep app to get data on your sleep quality
- Drink decaffeinated bed-time tea
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! 💧
- Get a reusable water bottle or invest in a smart water bottle to help remind you to hydrate especially on your busiest workdays
Eat healthy meals 🥗
- Get nutrient-rich foods that you’ll actually eat
- Reduce sugary foods, process foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine
- Take care of your gut health; eat food that are good for your gut
Move your body 💃
- Incorporate exercise in your daily routine to release “happy/feel-good” hormones called endorphins and to help stimulate the release of other brain chemicals that play important roles in regulating your mood
- Takes your mind off of unwanted and negative thoughts
- This also circles back to self-care 😉
- By the way, dancing counts as exercise so bump your favorite tunes for even 5-10 mins a day and body roll the anxious thoughts out of your head 🕺
Watch your caffeine Intake ☕️
- Take note of how much caffeine you consume daily and journal your mood throughout the day to see how caffeine affects you
- Decrease your caffeine consumption or avoid it completely if it’s causing a caffeine-induced anxiety
- Switch from drinking coffee or energy drinks to natural alternatives such as tea
🤳 Decrease screen time and reduce time spent on social media
Reduce time spent on social media especially when feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Start setting time limits on your daily social media use to keep you focused on your work and limit distractions that can impact your productivity and thinking. You could even turn on the “Do Not Disturb” or “Focus” mode on your phone to limit distractions and the temptation to check your notifications!
✋ Know when to take a break (and actually take it)
This is a challenging one, I know! 😬
Remember, taking a break is an important part of a healthy work-life balance. When you take time off, your brain can rest and recharge, allowing for better mental clarity. And when you’re feeling refreshed and less stressed, your brain can literally perform better!
👩💻 Utilize a task management and productivity tool
Sometimes it seems like there is just too much on our plate, and the more tasks you finish, the more new tasks show up. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by this type of situation because you’re constantly thinking about everything that needs to get done with no clear way of how to tackle them.
With task management and productivity tools, things can become more manageable. A task management and productivity tool like ClickUp can help you reduce anxiety by consolidating your work in one place, organizing your work, managing workload, tracking your tasks, and giving you ways brain dump ideas into Docs, Notepad, tasks, and more so you wouldn’t have to rely on your memory to remember every little detail!
Bonus: ADHD Productivity Tools!
Key features in ClickUp that’ll help you regain control over your workload:
- Integrations: Connect your most used work tools (over 1,000+ options) to ClickUp and bring all your work in one place
- Hierarchy: Structure your work by Spaces, Folders, tasks, subtasks, and more to keep them organized and easily accessible
- Calendar view: Stay on track by scheduling and viewing your tasks by day, week, month
- Workload view: Plan and monitor your work capacity to avoid overloading and burnout
- Me Mode: Minimize other distractions on the screen and only see tasks that are assigned to you
- Time Tracker: Manage your time better. Track your time and set time estimates
- Priority flags: Organize tasks according to importance and urgency
- Assigned comments & Assigned to me view in Notifications: Assign comments to your team (and yourself) and view comments/action items that are assigned to you under the Assigned to me view in notifications
⏳ Time management and setting boundaries
With the busy pace of today’s workplace, it’s no wonder that many people are feeling anxious. With so much to do and not enough time in the day, feelings of anxiety can easily take over. That’s why it’s critical that we find ways to manage our time more effectively!
Time management techniques such as time blocking, prioritizing tasks based on urgency, importance, and sensitivity to timing, can bring structure to your workdays and gain control of your workload.
You can start tracking how long you spend on each type of task to gauge how demanding they are, identify any blockers, and categorize them by priority.
⭐️ Pro tip: If you need a task management tool with time tracking capabilities, then turn to ClickUp to help! Easily track time spent on any task, set estimated time of completion to set expectations, and add priority flags to label your tasks according to urgency or importance.
Setting these time boundaries for yourself will be key in managing stress levels and keeping you from constantly feeling overwhelmed.
✅ Set SMART goals
Setting SMART goals can help create a structured path and keep you focused. When you set goals, make sure they’re: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
We’d also like to add realistic to that list! Why? Well, we all sometimes have the tendency to shoot for the stars (sometimes without even realizing it!), but setting realistic SMART goals is a way for us to be honest and transparent with ourselves. The more realistic our goals are, the more in control we’ll feel about reaching our overarching goals!
⭐️Pro tip:Keep track of all your goals with ClickUp’s Goals feature. ClickUp Goals is here to help you set and track your goals in a way that works for you. You can type up all of your goals, categorize them according to your preferences and add notes to each goal. Once you’re done setting up the goals, take charge and start tracking!
You got this 👊 😉
🙋 Never feel bad about needing help!
It’s important to learn how to ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious at work. It might seem like you’re the only one who is struggling with these difficult emotions, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many people experience these feelings every day and it takes a lot of courage to admit that they need help. If you’re feeling anxious because you’re taking on too much on your own and it just doesn’t seem like you could ever catch up, please ask for help or delegate tasks accordingly.
And again, you’re not alone—we all need help in some way or another. Whether it’s sharing with your boss or colleagues that you feel overwhelmed with your workload, confused about a task, or unsure about the first step to take on a project, communicating and being transparent with them may just help them understand your situation and in turn, help you find a solution.
Let’s start eliminating the stigma around asking for help together. 🤝 💜
Bonus: See how being neurodiverse can be a competitive advantage 😊
Bring calm back into your workday 🧘♀️
We believe in the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and making time for relaxation and the things that fill up your cup.
That’s why we created ClickUp, an all-in-one platform that can bring balance into your life, save you a day a week, and help you create a workflow that reduces your stress, not add to it.
And when you save one day a week, use the time you saved to fill up your cup—whatever that is to you! 😊